Homeschooling update

Posted on November 10, 2011 by

Time now for another homeschooling update.

We’ve finally settled into our homeschool schedule. We’ve decided to concentrate on phonics, copywork, math, and our readings. Bible is getting shoved in between readings, as the readings currently match the Bible timeline. With co-op and all of the extra-curriculars and driving around, it’s just too much for him (and me) otherwise. My husband is turning my son into an ace card player and they spend every evening reading Cam Jansen books and watching old German children’s shows on DVD.

We’re finally progressing in the reading comprehension, time orientation, and plot retention. It used to be that I’d ask for narration and just get a shrug in response, but he can now quickly summarize “What happened last time?”, “What happened this time?”, and discuss with me about “What will happen in the future?” He seems to enjoy drawing a related picture and writing a sentence underneath about the reading. I thought this would get old quickly, but he finds satisfaction in looking through the previous entries and reliving the storyline. This is working great for the history readings, as he’s essentially creating his own illustrated timeline. They don’t start making their Book of Centuries until 5th grade (second cycle), so this is a nice interim project.

Phonics has been the big thing lately, and I’m glad to report that we’ve made real progress. He’s finally picked up on rhyming and blending sounds, so we’re speeding through his Bob Books and I think we’ll try McGuffey’s First Eclectic Reader next. There are great selections in there, without dumbed-down vocabulary or distracting pictures, so I’ve decided to use these for studied copywork and dictation. Combining reading and writing like that seems to help him remember the words. Yes, I’m teaching him sight-reading! We only sound-out words we don’t recognize because we’re not phonics masochists.

Math is still easy for him, and he grasps each new concept with just a simple explanation, so we’re just hacking out worksheets now according to the Ray’s schedule to please the evaluators and concentrating on the other subjects that he struggles more with, especially phonics. Some hands-on things we’ve integrated are:

  • Bought him an analog watch to learn how to tell time. Within a week he was proficient. I originally had “watch worksheets”, and my husband just gave me a Look and said, “Buy him a watch. Teach him to tell time using a clock.” Oh yeah. Duh. He enjoys comparing the oven’s digital clock with the analog one on his wrist, so he essentially taught himself.
  • We used Thunderbird’s calendar functionality to finally get an electronic calendar going, and our son and I filled in the schedule and holidays together. We’ve printed out the page for the month and he’s learned to read calendars using that, and using the decorative calendar we hung up in his room. Again, I had worksheets, and my husband gave me a Look, and I was like, “Oh yeah. Duh. Let’s just make a real calendar.” I have no idea why I’m still so wedded to those stupid worksheets. It’s like an addiction, or something.
  • And we’re using a German-style abacus to practice math facts, decimal base, ordering of numbers, and counting. My husband totally confused him a few days ago, by asking, “What comes after eleven?” “Twelve!” “No, one-hundred. In binary!” Ha ha ha. And then the conversation went off into hexadecimal math and I excused myself from the room before I got a headache. I struggle enough in one number system.
  • Next semester we will be learning money and measurement, using real money and real measures.
Posted in: Education